Canada’s Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, has announced a significant increase in financial criteria for international students seeking study permits. Miller has issued a stern warning, threatening to “significantly limit visas” if provinces and educational institutions do not take corrective action before the upcoming fall term, emphasizing the government’s commitment to education system integrity.
The decision also extends the temporary exemption from the 20-hour work limit for international students until April 30, 2024. Miller expressed concerns about potential abuse in the system, naming both questionable employers and educational institutions.
During a news conference, Miller expressed worries about certain educational institutions operating as “puppy mills,” churning out diplomas without providing a legitimate student experience. The increased financial requirement for prospective students will be raised to USD 20,635, doubling the longstanding USD 10,000 threshold.
This change aims to ensure that international students have sufficient funds to cover living costs, travel, and tuition expenses. The amount will be adjusted annually based on Statistics Canada benchmarks for living costs. Miller highlighted the need for learning institutions to responsibly manage the number of international students they accept, considering their ability to provide housing or assistance in finding off-campus accommodation.
“If provinces and territories cannot do this, we will do it for them, and they will not like the bluntness of the instruments that we use,” warned Miller, indicating the federal government’s readiness to intervene if provinces fail to act.
The move addresses concerns about international students facing challenges in finding suitable housing and being forced into exploitative jobs. Miller stressed the government’s commitment to protecting international students from potential vulnerabilities and exploitation, urging collaborative efforts with provinces. If provinces don’t cooperate, the federal government is prepared to take decisive action, potentially implementing visa caps and even shutting down institutions that don’t meet the necessary standards.